The Shanghai International Circuit, which opened in 2004, was built within a period of 18 months on 5.3 square kilometres of marshland. Concrete piles, 40 to 80 metres deep, were driven into the ground and covered with metre thick layers of polystyrene and soil.
The circuit was designed by German architect, Hermann Tilke, who was also responsible for the tracks in Bahrain, Istanbul and Sepang.
The track comprises seven right and seven left hand corners. The longest straight is not the start/finish straight, as one might expect, but the one which leads from turn 13 to turn 14. This full throttle section measures over 1.3 kilometres.
The layout is based on the Chinese character “Shang”, which translates as “high” or “above”. The futuristic pits and grandstands emulate traditional Chinese design features. The circuit seats up to 200,000 spectators.
Shanghai, a port city and free trade zone on the east coast of the country and near the Yangtze Delta, is China’s boom town with a population of approximately 15 million.
For the car manufacturs, China is one of the fastest growing markets worldwide. Sales grew by 25 percent (up to 20,000 cars) within the first eight months of 2005.
The final rounds of the Formula BMW Asia Championship will be held next weekend as part of the F1 support package. BMW’s international series is a proving ground for young talent in which drivers compete at speeds of up to 230 km/h in single seater cars with 140 bhp engines. This year’s title is still to be decided between Salman Al Khalifa and Hamed Al Fardan from Bahrain, Michael Patrizi from Australia and Charlie-Ro Charlez from Malaysia.